Central Coast Mariners vs. Newcastle Jets – A-League, December 31, 2020
Matchday 1 of the 2020/21 A-League season dishes up a tasty F3 Derby, with the Mariners hosting the Jets on Thursday, December 31.
The Yellow & Navy finished rock bottom of the table for the third consecutive year last term, although eighth-place Newcastle didn’t exactly cover themselves with glory in the previous campaign.
After looking at the bookies’ odds, I provide my Central Coast Mariners vs. Newcastle Jets prediction and betting pick.
Central Coast Mariners vs. Newcastle Jets Odds
The Mariners (2.63) head into the new season as the bookmakers’ outsiders, so it’s hardly surprising that 10bet views the Jets (2.40) as the favorites to win here.
Having said that, the odds gap for this matchup is very tight. With the home advantage, Central Coast could cause Newcastle some problems.
Central Coast Mariners vs. Newcastle Jets Preview
The F3 Derby has not been kind to the Mariners in recent times. The Yellow & Navy have failed to win any of their previous three matches against Newcastle, with a 4-3 loss coming in this fixture last season.
I mean, Central Coast has struggled against pretty much everyone over the past few seasons. The Mariners have registered three straight last-place finishes and ended the previous campaign five points adrift at the bottom of the table.
Needless to say, Alen Stajcic’s men must improve on last season’s record of W5-D3-L18.
After taking just 18 points from a possible 78 last term, it was imperative that Central Coast bolstered their squad during the offseason. Fortunately, the club was able to lure Costa Rican Marcos Urena to Australia. The forward arrives with 67 international appearances under his belt, bringing heaps of experience.
The Mariners were the lowest scorers in 2019/20, but the arrival of Urena will give the team a massive boost.
Coincidentally, the Jets were the second-lowest scorers last term. Newcastle only netted 32 goals on their way to finishing eighth – missing out on the Finals Series by four points.
As things stand, interim head coach Craig Deans will lead the team into the new campaign. Long-standing manager Ernie Merrick was sacked the last term, with Carl Robinson coming and going during the offseason.
It is no secret that issues behind the scenes have impacted Newcastle’s preparations for 2020/21. With the ownership of the club up in the air, the team is unsettled. Joey Champness and James Donachie won’t be playing for the Jets, although the midfield duo of Steven Ugarkovic and Joe Ledley is still formidable.
With Bernie Ibini’s departure to the Wanderers, Deans may have to rely on the club’s youngsters this season.
Central Coast Mariners vs. Newcastle Jets Prediction and Pick
With odds of 2.63 for the home win and 2.40 for the away win, the bookmakers can barely separate these two sides. Neither team is expected to make a big impact on the A-League in the upcoming season, so I can see this F3 Derby being pretty uneventful.
Having taken everything into consideration, I’m going with the draw here. Both sides will be eager to avoid defeat in their opening match, so this is likely to be a cagey encounter with limited goalscoring opportunities.